Bishop Wilton Gregory gave his final address as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops yesterday. The bishop has completed his three-year term.
In his address, he apologized for the mistakes he made as he led the U.S. Church through the clergy sex abuse crisis.
Bishop Gregory of Belleville, Ill., said there were times during the nearly three-year-long crisis when bishops supported each other. However, there were also moments when they were divided.
"A strengthened sense of collegiality among ourselves can only redound to the common good of the church in the United States which we tend and love," he said as he opened the fall meeting of the USCCB. "It will also serve as a very important witness to our beloved nation of how religious and civil discourse can and must take place."
Under Bishop Gregory’s leadership, the bishops adopted a policy in June 2002 on how to respond to abuse claims that includes barring offenders from church work. It is now undergoing review.
Later in the week, the bishops will also discuss a multiyear initiative to strengthen marriage and hear an update from their task force on how bishops should respond to Catholics in public life who do not follow Church teachings.